Module Catalogue 2022/23

HSS8023 : Reflective Researcher Portfolio

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Mrs Rosalind Beaumont
  • Lecturer: Dr Jen Tarr, Dr Laura Leonardo
  • Owning School: School X
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Code Title
HSS8020Designing Doctoral Research
HSS8021Theories and Methods for Research
HSS8024Reflective Researcher Portfolio
Co Requisite Comment

Both HSS8023 and HSS8024 must be successfully completed in order to gain the PG Certificate.
The order in which HSS8023 and HSS2024 are completed depends on programme start date (ie. September or January) and nature of candidature (ie. part- or full-time).


This module aims to support early-stage postgraduate researchers in critically reflecting upon their learning, including their personal and professional development goals, processes and achievements.

It provides postgraduate researchers with opportunities to explore their identities and identify training needs as researchers within a complex and evolving research landscape.

The module also provides opportunities to connect theory with practice and provide a space for dialogue, challenge, and reflection in relation to their own research and the research of their peers.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module is centred on the researchers’ independent and peer-supported learning and their reflection upon their experiences during the early stages of their research degree.

Following introductory session, instead of following a specific syllabus researchers engage in both defined and self-selected appropriate research training and development activities. These activities are offered by the Researcher Education and Development and beyond. In addition, they engage in regular facilitated study groups and practical exercises in developing critical reflective skills. These study groups and exercises will be based on key activities and themes they will engage with on the other PGCert modules, and as part of their wider Stage 1 experiences as a research students. A systematic manner to record their experience of learning, managing and adapting to becoming a researcher will be offered.

The content of their reflections and set activities will form a portfolio, and will guide the individual ‘learning syllabuses’, determining the points on which they will focus in reflecting upon their learning and development. Depending on the order they take the two Reflective Research Portfolio modules (HSS8023 and HSS8024) this material will inform a summative assignment (initial reflections and action plan) in their first Reflective Researcher Portfolio Module, and a subsequent reflective commentary (in the second Reflective Researcher Portfolio module) submitted as a final summative assessment.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an evidence-informed and critical awareness of contextual and contemporary issues in Higher Education research settings and their implications for own research;

2. Demonstrate working understanding of the Vitae Development Framework.

Intended Skill Outcomes

On completion of this module, postgraduate researchers will be able to:?

3. Critically reflect on their own research practice and experience, drawing on relevant scholarly evidence;

4. Critically evaluate their own personal researcher professional development needs and identify strategies for ensuring on-going growth and advancement;

5. Work effectively alongside other colleagues in a multi-disciplinary context;

6. Communicate ideas and arguments effectively in a multi-disciplinary context.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials21:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading115:0015:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching42:008:00Study Group
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity41:004:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery12:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study137:0037:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

An introductory lecture provides researchers with background information about the module aims and expectations, and offers direction for independent and peer-supported student-centred learning. Later lectures (end of first semester and during second semester) provide learning review points and further orientation and assessment information. Online materials introduce the lecture content, establish a basic level of understanding of the session topic, and signal areas for individual further study and essential and further reading.

Teaching Assistant-led study groups provide researchers with the opportunity to raise questions and to discuss material in more depth. Group activities and discussions also allow them to share and engage with personal reflections on their training and development activities (including those from the set reflective learning activities), and a more holistic experience of being an early-stage research student. There is a strong wellbeing element built into the operation of these study groups, providing peer support in the first stages of a research degree, and drawing on the experiences of the PGR Teaching Assistants in a buddy/ peer-mentoring capacity.

Independent study activities provide researchers with regular opportunities to consolidate learning through guided tasks. They are asked to complete regular reflective learning activities to develop material for their portfolio. Independent study will enable wider reading, further personal self-reflection and assessment preparation.

Drop-in sessions are offered in each semester for consultation with the Module Leader and to clarify the assessment requirements, in addition to ad hoc in-person/ email communications.

The majority of the work necessary for a successful completion of this module will take place through researchers' private study. Through independent and tutor/peer-supported learning, and recordings of their learning, they are enabled to reflect upon their personal and professional development goals, processes and achievements.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio1M1001000 word initial reflection and action plan.*
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment strategy for this module is designed to support students in meeting the learning outcomes through the following two assessments:

•A 1000 word summative Reflection and Action Plan is set and assessed in first module the students take (either HSS8023 or HSS8024). This assignment allows researchers to assess their attainment of the module’s learning outcomes and develop action plans to address gaps. Action plans will be monitored and used to provide targeted support for students.

•a 2000 word summative Reflective Commentary is set and assessed in the second module the students take (either HSS8023 or HSS8024). This assignment is a set of critical reflections on the researchers’ learning experiences and research journey, mainly informed by their portfolio of their training and development activities. Through this commentary, researchers provide an overview of their development at this stage, and critically reflect on how their learning experiences have contributed to the development of the knowledge, skills and competencies embodied in the learning outcomes for this module. This reflection can feed into their Annual Progress Review documents.

Assessment Formats: written submissions or equivalents in alternative formats will be accepted. Acceptable alternatives could include a recorded audio, visual or audio/ visual presentation, along with an annotated bibliography, with an ‘equivalent consumption time’ to the 1000 or 2000 word essays.

*note: If modules HSS8023 and HSS8024 are taken sequentially, this module's assessment will be a 1000 word essay or equivalent. However, if HSS8023 is taken second (due to a January start date), the student will be required to complete a 2000 word essay or equivalent (as described above + linked to HSS8024).


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.